Thursday, July 28, 2011


PRIZES! That's the reason we're all here, right? Once a game was won, (or lost! "whatever!") we gave the child a ticket to cash in at the Prize Booth. Baby rubber duckies, bubble wands, crazy sunglasses, whistles, alien toys, play dough, cotton candy....the usual carnival fare!


If you invite need to feed them! And not just popcorn! - although this little stand was a popular site to visit. It was the first booth I made, down in my basement during the cold month of March. In my enthusiasm, I pieced it all together permanently - never thinking ahead about moving it upstairs, into a truck, and over to Mary Jo's! I got smart really fast after that! Everything else now comes apart for easy moving and reassembly. Nonetheless, the popcorn stand made it to the carnival and will live to see future ones!

My son-in-law was in charge of the grill. We served hot dogs and a few side dishes. The food was offered in those cute red plastic diner baskets with red checkered wax liners.The dessert table was made into a game. I found this terrific tabletop spinner at Oriental Trading. The girls worked together to provide cute desserts like "dirt cups," brownies, hamburger-shaped cookies, and ice cream cone cupcakes to place on the numbers.

A few other games rounded out the evening. We had an "estimating jar" stuffed with candy. Each family was invited to make a guess at the total amount of items inside. The family who won the jar was just one number away from the correct total! We also had a "Cookie Walk" - playing for giant chocolate chip cookies, awarded to whomever was standing on the correct number when the music stopped.       


The final game was an "egg and spoon" race. I love the game I found with plastic eggs that break open when they drop - with a little bean bag "yolk" inside! When the winners crossed the finish line, they were generously sprinkled with confetti and cheered for by the whole crowd. Many kids came back to play over and over just so they could be re-showered with confetti (and win another circus-striped lollipop!)

Egg and spoon race competitors include my youngest daughter, Karen, at right, with Bree.

How could we possibly end the hot summer evening without a wild and crazy water balloon fight orchestrated by the dads? I had no idea this was about to happen. The guys just put it all together, had a wonderful time with their kids, and demonstrated once again the lasting joy and happy memories that come from gatherings such as this!

And there you have it! Our first annual family carnival in only 4 installments! Maybe next year we'll have it at my house, probably in the spring - that will give us some space for our first annual  

Halloween Carnival!

This event is already on the drawing board and on the calendar! And in the meantime,"WOW!" you should see my basement!
Don't you dare go down in my basement!

Family friend and super-fun daddy, Rich, was right in the middle of all the wet fun!

July 14, 2012 note: As I reread this Family Carnival 2011 series I am struck by how much the kids have matured in the past year. That reinforces the idea that grandchildren really do grow up fast, just as their parents did. I am beginning to plan for this year's second family carnival to be held on August 18, 2012. Grandmothers will be the guests of honor this time. I will invite my own grandma friends and my daughters will include the grandparents of their own guests. Adult children are welcome too, but if they come, they must don a striped apron and work a booth! Grandmothers alone will take the kids by the hand and play the games together! I admit that the thought of all the work involved to pull this fete off successfully has caused me to hesitate more than once. Maybe I should host the affair just once every two years? But then I look back at last year's pictures and recall the number of times my grandsons have asked if grandma will have another carnival for them. This reignites the enthusiasm I thought I was losing! Yes, kiddoes! Of course grandma is going to have another family carnival this year! And the next, and the next and the next! Because right now is the time you warm my heart with your cute little squeals of joy when it's your turn to step up and toss plastic rings over the heads of dollar store duckies!

Read about our 2012 event here.
And our 2014 event here. Lots of new games and prizes!


  1. I so wish I could go to this year's event! This really is just amazing and I can see why you would hesitate with all the work involved but they do grow up so very fast! Imagine how much they will change in those pictures in just one year! Good luck with all the planning!

    PS I miss having a basement!!! Don't miss taking cover in it but I do miss having one!

  2. Could you please tell me how you made the lettering for the popcorn sign? I love it!

  3. Hi! Thank you for visiting! I made the popcorn stand lettering with the "Playbill" font on Microsoft Word. Set it to 600 for a 6" size (or customize it) and click the "outline" mode so you don't waste printer ink. Cut out the letters and use as templates. I made 3 sets - one each in red, yellow, and black - for a shaded effect. Good luck with your project! I'm always happy to help!

  4. How did you make the Today's events sign? Also, was there a template for the "Guess how many" or did you make that too?

    1. Kara, the "Today's Events" sign is a combination of letters printed from an Ellison die machine ("today's"), and "Events" is cut from a set of stencils I made on Microsoft Word. Print out the "Playbill" font in a large size (7-8") using the outline option and use those letters as templates.
      Hope this helps!

    2. And I made the "Guess how many?" board with Ellison letters and a stick on alphabet ("Guess") from Hobby Lobby. The clown is a Dollar Tree item from the teacher supplies department.